CLEMSON — A backup quarterback normally doesn't get called in for media interviews - especially when he is with the defending national champions and has the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy leading the team.
But the backup quarterback for the Clemson Tigers is not normal in any sense of the word.
Chase Brice broke through and into the national spotlight last season when he was called upon to lead the Tigers to a come-from-behind conference victory against the Syracuse Orange.
However, Brice understands this is Trevor Lawrence’s team, and it is his job to help push him to be the best.
“I mean, every day just we tell each other every day before we go to practice, meetings, things might get tedious and it's easy for other players to kind of get tired and nonchalant, but we know we have to keep each other going and then obviously get the team going,” Brice said. “Maybe we don't want to go in this time or work out or anything, but everybody's looking at us to be a leader. It's just kind of what the quarterback does and you got to do that.
“Then my personality and his personality, we're both nonchalant, like real lackadaisical. We crack jokes every now and then like Nacho Libre. Whatever the team needs, I just want to win. I know he wants to win. Everybody in here wants to win.”
Brice felt when the spring practice session ended with his white team dominating the Lawrence-led orange team by a final score of 30-10 in the Tigers’ annual spring game that he had achieved his goal of going out and having fun.
“I had a lot of fun. I was excited for the game,” Brice said. “Spring can last a long time and so you're kind of anxious to get out there. It was just fun being, I kind of liked us being separated and split up. It was pretty even I would say, and seeing who could play, who could let loose and have fun. I think you saw that today from both sides, great plays on both teams, and how much fun we have when we play. That definitely goes into account.
“I'm going to hold onto him, let him know white team won. We had a great day today.”
However great the feeling of beating Lawrence in the spring game was for Brice, he understands that just because the spring season ended with a victory does not mean his work is over.
“I’ve still got to work out,” Brice said. “Really just reading post snap defense really quick. I feel like I've done a good job of noticing different spots where the defense is and knowing kind of what coverage they're going to be in. That's just going against our defense, which we see them every day, so I mean they kind of see our offense and kind of know when things are coming. Really just looking at that safety or linebacker knowing the front. I think I've done a really good job doing that.”
Brice’s story is yet to be finished, as he still has three more seasons of eligibility. But in a day and age when players are eager to transfer out of backup roles in hopes of garnering more playing time, Brice is going to be happy where he is.
“I'm going to be great where my feet are and right here in Clemson is where I'm going to grow and grow as a man, grow as a person and obviously as a football player,” Brice said. “I feel like I've definitely gotten better since last season. All I know is we're going to win and go places.
"We do a lot of different things as a program that other colleges and other teams don't get to experience, and it's special.”